British Columbia has been on fire for most of the Summer. This season saw the largest area burnt and highest number of evacuations in a fire season in recorded history.
For weeks the air hung hot, still and hazy with smoke, even here on the south coast. The Sun and the Moon both shone through with the red intensity of a brake-light.
I painted the moon from the back deck of my house, right against the forest. I wanted to capture the particular red of the moon and the wine-coloured sky. I left the trees dark and indistinct in the smoke, but went deeper into the lunar seas to show more of the skull I saw howling out of the gloom.
In other news, I’m working on too many projects and enjoying it.
I’ve been tapped to do some illustration for a tabletop gaming company’s core rule-books coming out, and I’m doing some design work for a jazz festival to be held in Powell River’s Townsite district. It’s nearly the 20s all over again, and I can’t think of a better place to host a roaring jazz fest than the art-deco dance halls and old industrial buildings there on the seaside.
Beyond that, I’m taking a more serious run at the illustrated novellas I’ve always dreamed of writing. I’ll be posting more about that when there’s more to say.
I’m still exploring the organic, maze-like surfaces of trees – and in the process I’ve gone further in the direction of abstraction.
In one case, I tried turning stumps into moons. There was something about the way the knots and layers of bark were coming together that reminded me of craters.
Some of these drawings were done in a group setting with friends. Others done while swilling coffee at the neighbourhood diner.
Oh, and here’s a bonus drawing of Rodin’s great sculpture in red pencil. As perhaps my last post might explain, I’ve been lost in thought, and this seemed – at the time – to be the best way to express heat and the muscular struggle and weight of thought without actually admitting anything.
I’ve really got to stop being so oblique. It’s one of my most frustrating qualities.
The collection of these grows steadily, and again, I find myself with the material for a legitimate show in the works. Once I have a venue, I’ll put them on display and make them available for sale.
It was pointed out to me recently that the thing I seem to paint most is the moon.
I hadn’t noticed, but it’s true.
I don’t know if there’s any particular reason for that except, y’know, it’s one of the most beautiful and inspiring things seen by human eyes, but in tallying up my work, yes – yes I do paint the moon with great regularity.
Come to think of it, there have been many nights where I’ve been out walking and came home to paint what I saw in the sky, but never finished. If I included those unfinished sketches and abandoned pieces, the total count might almost double.
The moon, being the majestic heavenly body that it is, has been the locus of our collective imagination for the existence of our species. It’s hardly any surprise that it inhabits great stretches of art, music, and poetry going back centuries. I find that I’ve got tons of great songs about the moon kicking around in regular rotation on my playlist, and so, hey, let’s do a pairing: I’ve painted a lot of moons and a lot of my favourite tunes are about moons, so I’m bringing you moons and tunes about moons until I run out.
Despite my protests that “It’s a Wonderful Life” isn’t strictly a holiday film, I end up following the cultural lead and taking a trip to Bedford Falls during the holidays every year.
George Lassos the Moon
In a movie filled with favourite scenes, one that stands out to me is when George and Mary return from the dance dressed in whatever spare clothes were on hand after boogying their way straight into the pool under the dance floor. In an inspired flight of fancy, George asks Mary what she wants. The moon? Sure. He could get her the moon. He’d just tie a lasso around it and pull it down.
I fired up the movie on the 23rd of December and started the first brush-strokes as the illustrated title cards rolled by. By some happy coincidence, I finished the painting just as the closing credits had finished.
With the ship of holiday sales having sailed by without much notice, I had decided I might actually make a go at creating some art for Valentine’s day. I am, if nothing else at all, a hopeless and unabashed romantic, and the idea of putting my weight of my ability behind the subject of love was much more appealing than the cash-grabby fiasco surrounding Christmas.
With that target in mind, I gathered a few partners together and organized a pop-up shop to be held between the beginning of February the fortnight hence.
The first in the series: “I love you with all of my Art”.